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State wins OK for $129 million in federal funds for education


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POSTED: Thursday, July 02, 2009

Some $129 million in federal money has been approved for public education in Hawaii under President Obama's national economic stimulus plan.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan yesterday called the money part of the “;single largest boost in education funding in recent history.”;

The federal stimulus law passed earlier this year provided about $100 billion for education. “;Hawaii can now utilize these funds to save jobs and lay the groundwork for a generation of education reform,”; Duncan said.

The funds were requested as required by Gov. Linda Lingle on June 10 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

About 70 percent is expected to go to primary and secondary education and 30 percent for higher education, said Linda Smith, the governor's senior policy adviser.

“;We're just pleased that the U.S. Department of Education approved our application so quickly,”; Smith said.

Smith said the governor's office plans to draft memorandums of agreement with various education entities about the withdrawal of funds.

She said state education officials are required to meet certain goals, when using the funds, such as tracking the academic progress of students.

State education spokeswoman Sandra Goya said the announcement was good news.

“;We now anxiously await the transfer of funds to Hawaii's public schools by the governor.”;

Hawaii is eligible to receive an additional $63 million this fall, federal education officials said.

To date, Hawaii has received $40 million in education stimulus funds, including money to improve the academic achievement of the disadvantaged and individuals with disabilities.